Friday, June 29, 2012

Time for Some Oxygen

A few months ago, I was working on my novel when things came to a screeching halt.  Sure, you can call it Writer’s Block, but it was much more serious than that to me.  Here I was, about 50,000 words into it, and the whole thing just kind of shut down on me.  Like a machine that stops working.  And then I realized that maybe this machine had a faulty design from the start.  I put it down.

Simultaneously, my parents asked me if I would be willing to do some painting in their house.  For various reasons, they just didn’t want to have someone they barely knew working in their house for an extended period of time.  I really love to paint, normally.  I find it therapeutic, and love seeing the physical progress of my hard work.  It was just what the doctor ordered.

I sang all the way through the first couple of days.  But things started to deviate from the original plan a little.  A color was wrong, and the entire room had to be re-done.  In another room, the semi-gloss betrayed brush strokes in a most offensive manner.  Redone, of course.  Trim and doors were not part of the original contract, but were added.  Due to my inability to just go over there for eight hours per day for days on end, this project was taking an eternity.  The joy of painting had become drudgery.  I made mistakes and had to clean them up, over and over.

Yesterday, as I put the last bit of marshmallow latex on a door frame, I said, “I just can’t handle it anymore.  I’m so sick of painting.”  I had been pushing myself along, almost through tears, thinking, This is not the talent that God blessed me with.  This is not what He created me to do.  Writing is.  I can’t breathe.

So this morning, I knew I would be getting back to my real occupation, my life’s work, my passion.  As I made breakfast, I realized I was literally dancing and singing around the kitchen.  Just the thought of doing what I love gave me a new boost of energy.  The oxygen had already returned to my brain.  As I have spent the day where I belong (in front of the computer, tapping away), I have remembered who I am.  I am me again.  I feel good in my own skin.  And it doesn’t have any paint smudges on it.

What activity is like oxygen for you?